FOUR OAKS – Cooper Thomas was presented with the Marine Corps League Good Citizenship Award during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony April 3 by Detachment Commandant Bob Long and Past Detachment Commandant Devell Durham Jr. at Camp Tuscarora Outdoor Chapel near Four Oaks.
When a young person becomes a BSA Scout there is within them something that called the spirit of Scouting. Cooper received that spirit at the age of four tagging along with his older brother Carter on various scouting adventures. He officially joined Cub Scout Pack 33, Den 7 as a Tiger in 2012, earning his Arrow of Light, and crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 33 in March 2017.
After crossover, Cooper was elected to his first leadership position as Patrol Leader. He has served in other leadership positions including Librarian, Bugler, Order of the Arrow Representative, and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader with Troop 57.
Throughout his Boy Scout career, he has earned 32 merit badges, well over the Eagle Scout required amount of 21.
Those who know him would not be surprised that the first merit badge he earned was aviation. Cooper completed National Youth Leadership Training and his brotherhood ordeal for the Order of the Arrow (Honor Society of Scouting).
In July 2021, Cooper attended Philmont Scout Ranch In New Mexico, where he and his crew hiked more than 75 miles and scaled the infamous summit named Baldy Mountain at 12,441 feet.
In June 2022, he plans to attend his second high adventure camp at Northern Tier in Minnesota where he will canoe and camp the Boundary Waters. Besides the High Adventure camps, Cooper participated in summer camps, hikes, fundraising, and countless campouts with his favorite being The Yorktown Aircraft Carrier.
Since Cub Scouts, Cooper has served on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day at Johnston County ceremonies and placed flags on Veteran’s graves at local churches. These events became the inspiration for his Eagle Project, The Veteran’s History Project. For the project, Cooper interviewed 20 Veterans about their time in the military. He recruited fellow scouts and classmates to help film the interviews.
During his Eagle “Workday”, each video (30-minute minimum) was watched and logged by a scout. Then the videos were submitted to the Library of Congress so the memories from WWII to the present can be shared with future generations.
Cooper is currently a sophomore at Cleveland High School where he is a member of the Student Government Association and soon-to-be a member of the National Honor Society. As a two-year member of Cleveland High School’s swim team, Cooper is the 50 Free Conference Champion and was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 2021/2022 swim season. He is also Johnston County’s only competitive springboard diver to finish in the Top 10 at state championships for the past two years.
After high school, Cooper plans to attend the Air Force Academy to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying. Cooper is the son of Donald and Mandy Thomas.